Report: State’s unemployment benefits fund finished 2013-2014 fiscal year in the black

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MADISON — A new report says the state’s unemployment benefits fund finished the 2013-14 fiscal year in the black for the first time in years.

The Legislative Audit Bureau released a report Wednesday that showed the fund grew from a negative $208.4 million as of June 30, 2013, to $329.4 million as of June 30, 2014, the first positive balance since the end of fiscal year 2007-08.

Auditors attributed the increase to a reduction in eligibility weeks from 86 during most of fiscal year 2011-12 to 26 weeks as the end of fiscal year 2013-14, a one-week waiting period before claiming benefits, decreasing unemployment and higher unemployment taxes on employers.

The state Department of Workforce Development uses the fund to pay unemployment benefits to people who lose their jobs.